Lab Manual: Rules and Procedures

2. Rules and Procedures (Back to Lab Manual Index)

2.1 Time management and time off

2.2 Out of hours testing policy

2.3 Attending talks and meetings

2.4 Tidiness in the lab


2.1 Time management and time off

We very much encourage you to take reasonable time off. We do understand that as graduate students with clocks ticking you might be disinclined to take time off. However, to be the best you can be, you MUST take time off. We are obliged to do so as well. That said, there are better times than others. Any time taken off must be approved by your supervisor with two weeks’ notice, barring any emergencies of course.

You are expected to be working full time, which means 5 days a week. And since you are an apprentice and have lots to learn from the environment itself, you are expected to work a traditional workday on campus. In addition to when the university is closed for official holidays, we are entitled to 4 weeks of vacation. This is traditionally taken to augment the Xmas holiday break and sometime in the summer months when things are far less busy around campus. We strongly recommend that you take your vacation time during those times. And we will make you take it, if you do not!


2.2 Out of hours testing policy

Out of hours testing is considered to be before 9am or after 5:30pm on weekdays, or any time on weekends and university closure days.


Restrictions on who should test out of hours

Testing participants alone out of hours is not permitted under any circumstances.

Staff, doctoral students, research assistants, research technicians, and postdocs can run testing out of hours if they follow the applicable standard operating procedures and University of Reading health and safety directives. These include the following:

When testing out of hours there must be at least one other SPCLS member of staff who has had SPCLS H&S induction training and fire awareness training. They must be located within shouting distance at all times. They must also be aware of this policy, emergency procedures and the type of testing being conducted.

All those conducting out of hours testing must have SPCLS H&S induction training, fire awareness training and H&S training specific to their procedures.

If applicable, all those testing out of hours must use personal protective equipment relevant to the experiment they are conducting.

Those using high risk procedures or testing with high risk participants must have first aid and fire safety training.

When testing children or vulnerable adults a DBS certificate is required.

It is the responsibility of the supervisors and PIs to ensure that students and staff have received sufficient training to be able to test out of hours and that those people involved in testing are familiar with the emergency procedures.

No undergraduate or postgraduate students are allowed to test out of hours without written authorisation from the head of school.

No out of hours testing is to be conducted before 7:30am or after 8pm without written authorisation from the head of school.

Anyone with a pre-existing, known medical condition that might cause them to be incapacitated while testing must not run testing outside of normal working hours without authorisation from the head of school.

Any member of the school conducting testing with a disability that means that they would require assistance to evacuate a building in the event of an emergency must bring this to the attention of their school/directorate management and the building manager so that a personal emergency evacuation plan can be agreed for out of hours testing.


Restrictions on the type of work that can be done out of hours

If possible running experiments out of hours should be avoided, although it is understood that this may be necessary based on the nature of the experiment (including pressure on equipment, participant recruitment.)

All experiments that are run out of hours must have undergone a risk assesment by the supervisor/PI detailing any extra safety precautions necessary (e.g. risk from participant, manual handling) to safely conduct work out of hours. The assesment will initially allocate the activity to one of three categories: low risk, medium risk or high risk activities.

All staff must be aware that the university’s first aiders are unlikely to be available, and minor first aid is available from security on ext. 6300.

In the event of a serious emergency arising, normal 999 emergency services must be used and security must also be informed on ext. 6300. Emergency procedures are listed in the SPCLS area health and safety code.


Logging out of hours work

All participants and researchers must log their presence in a building occupants’ register, which are located in the main Psychology reception and the north entrance of the Harry Pitt building. All out of hours experiments should be logged with security as follows:

Security must be telephoned prior to the start of the experiment (Ext. 6300). They must be told where the testing will take place, who will be involved, and what time the experiment will end.

At the end of the experiment security must be called to inform them that testing has finished.



All participants must be informed that the experiment is occuring out of hours and therefore the university’s emergency response is not available (so normal emergency services would need to be used.)

The researcher must remain with the participant at all times. When the participant leaves, they must be escorted by the researcher until they have left the building.

Giving participants payments in cash should be avoided, and only small numbers of vouchers with low values are to be kept for issue.


2.3 Attending talks and meetings

As you know, via CeLM, PCLS and our own lab there is a healthy and constant stream of talks.  These are meant for your benefit more than anyone else’s, even if at times they can seem cumbersome.  You are expected to attend all such meetings to be respectful to our invited guests and because you will learn on top.  You are expected to be an active participant, minimally showing up on time and leaving when it is done.

There are no talks—almost never—scheduled outside of normal working hours and so there is no excuse to not come, unless you are engaged in other work activities, away representing the university or have permission from your advisor. If you are unable to come, you need to inform your advisor as soon as possible upon announcement of the events and/or immediately thereafter in the case something pops up that was previously unknown.  There is no reason your advisor should not know why you happen to not be there, if so, you will clearly have not complied with this guideline.  If this should happen in a consistent way, it will affect your ability to get funding for studies and/or conferences.


2.4 Tidiness in the lab

The lab in 143 is shared space.  Several of you will spend considerable time working there.  If you do, you are required to keep that space clean and tidy.  Make sure that you dispose of your garbage and help dispose of that which is un-collegially left, which will happen from time to time.  On Fridays, it would be appreciated if collectively we all do a mild, yet purposeful cleaning to make sure that the space is always presentable to our participants and other guests.


Back to Top